Guest blog by Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs, U.S. Economic Development Administration
On June 7, 2011, I was honored to join U.S. Congressman and Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Jeff Denham (CA-19), Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, and Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Dora Westerlund for the ribbon-cutting for the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation’s Downtown Business HUB (DBH). The innovative business incubator facility located in Fresno, California will provide local entrepreneurs of various ethnicities the opportunity to develop and grow their ideas for new products and services to create the economy of the future.
EDA has invested $1.7 million to renovate, upgrade and expand the capacity of the facility. The project is expected to help create at least 900 jobs and spur $36 million in private investment. It will be a one-stop shop for Fresno’s designated enterprise zone and the Fresno County region as a whole. Its on-site, state-of-the-art technology resources and office space will serve as catalysts for target industries such as Internet web design, graphic design, and custom manufacturing, among many others. The DBH provides space for 8-12 business owners in order to facilitate training on a rotating basis. Each year, the DBH expects to assist and service over 300 business owners with resources that will equip them to expand their business, while continuing to provide educational workshops and traditional business counseling and support.
Business incubators are strategic tools that help regions to recover and eventually become more competitive in the global economy. The results of a 2008 Grant Thornton study indicated that business incubators are more efficient than other economic development activities. In fact, for every $10,000 in EDA investments, these incubators create an average of 46.3 to 69.4 jobs, numbers that are far greater than those that result from any other type of EDA project. From FY 2009 to present, EDA has invested over $1.2 million in business incubators – investments that are expected to aid in the creation of more than 12,900 jobs and generate over $790 million in private investment. ABC-30 News coverage